A reader writes:

This is a terrible idea.  I cannot remember a single snow day that did not come with at least the threat of a power outage, as snow laden trees took out the power lines leading to my semi-rural house.  And if your Internet comes via satellite, good luck getting reception when the snow is coming down.  Not to mention having a sister with whom I would have had to share my family's only computer; who would have gotten computer priority and gotten to be "present" at school?

Plus, I can't remember anything better in childhood than the games of tackle football made gentle by piles of snow limiting our running speed, and the sheer joy of tackling your neighbor into two feet of snow.  And my mom made some badass hot cocoa to warm us back up when we were all exhausted.


I actually found that one of the more profound results of Snow Days as a child was that I could expect, without fail, my father to raise me out of bed early to help shovel the front walk, driveway, and all the pathway to the door on the side of our garage.  And I could generally expect to have to re-shovel the sidewalk every hour or two, if the snow was coming down hard.

Granted, the intermittent and menial labor of shoveling was a welcome replacement for a day at school. But the larger point is that Snow Days, for my siblings and me, were not just a free day off.  It was actually one of my first big life lessons.  Since my parents still had to get to work, and our hands were free, the least we could do is spend some of our unexpected day off mitigating Mother Nature's effects on our homestead.  It instilled in me a sense of duty to my family.

I obviously didn't analyze it like that at the time.  Obviously the last thing I wanted to do on my Snow Day was shovel.  But many of the best lessons of our youth are taught to us in moments where we are completely oblivious to the lesson we're being taught.

So I agree with you.  Don't do away with Snow Days.  If not for the fond memories you cited, then for the opportunity for growth and learning that they presented to people like me.

(Photo by Flickrite Sebastian Cartes)

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